Upgrading to Business Central from Dynamics NAV in 2022 and beyond

If you have not yet upgraded from Dynamics NAV to Business Central these are the choices as to how this will be done.


The deadline has passed and we must move on. If you have not yet upgraded from Dynamics NAV to Business Central there are fewer choices as to how this will be done. Some would recommend not an upgrade but a re-implementation. But many companies need their customizations to do business, and NAV was the best choice for implementing custom business processes.


Why start over and re-implement? Familiarity with the business processes of NAV is probably the best reason. Also, features added in recent versions may leave modifications unnecessary; or some modifications may no longer be needed.


Why upgrade?  Keeping historical data is probably the best reason here. And, of course, keeping custom processes in place. Newer versions of BC are more web friendly and offer PowerApps integrations. And there is a large marketplace of add-on products that integrate more easily.

Your best option

The best answer is likely between the two options above. Historical data can be pulled forward in an upgrade from a customized to a non-customized database, and customizations can be reviewed to the point where it may cost less to redo them in simpler form. Either way, once upgraded, future upgrades under the Extension model will be much less challenging and the effort to upgrade now will pay off in the long run.

The details, or how will upgrades work from here on out?

From here on out any upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Business Central must go to the latest BC version. But there is a catch. Any upgrade from a NAV version prior to Business Central still requires the very first version of Business Central, “version 14” released in 2019, as an interim step in an upgrade to any higher version. This is part of the Microsoft technical upgrade procedure and cannot be skipped over. The reason behind this requirement is that “BC 14” is the only version that offers both the Object Designer and new Extension model. The catch is that this interim step can only be done under the Partner license because Microsoft has discontinued client licensing for Business Central version 14.

The short story is that any upgrade from NAV to BC will now follow these steps:

  1. Upgrade NAV database to BC 14
  2. Move customizations to extensions
  3. Remove add-ons and customized objects
  4. Reinstall add-on products as extensions
  5. Upgrade to latest version of BC

Having done dozens of upgrades over the past 25 years, including upgrades to Business Central, we have become very good at guiding our Customers through the tasks of assessing their upgrade options, culling modifications and upgrading with optimum effort. Many partners are very capable of Step 1. Beyond that there are far fewer. We are one.

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